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Mentoring Programme for Women

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Institute of Directors to Launch Mentoring Programme for Women

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has given the go ahead to a new mentoring scheme aimed at increasing the number of women on NZX-listed boards.

The IoD’s Chairmen Mentoring Programme will enlist up to 30 chairmen and senior directors of major companies to work with experienced and qualified women in a year-long programme.

Launching at the end of 2011, this pilot scheme aims at helping women to develop connections with top business leaders and gain the skills that will allow them to achieve board positions. They will also develop a greater understanding of how listed company boards work.
The scheme will also be of value to mentors by putting them in contact with talented women who have the potential to become company directors on NZX-listed companies.

Currently, only 9.32% of directorships in New Zealand’s listed companies are held by women.

Based on the highly successful Australian Institute of Director’s (AICD) mentoring programme, it is part of a wider initiative by the IoD to address the issue of diversity on boards. It follows recent discussions between Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hon Hekia Parata and IoD President, Denham Shale.

“The IoD is very aware of the need to promote board diversity generally in New Zealand. The current pool of operating directors needs to be supplemented to ensure continuing good governance in our country,” said Mr Shale.

“In promoting this action we are aware of the changing business dynamics both from a gender and ethnicity point of view and the requirement for the next generation of governance leaders to be brought forward. We felt that we would begin with a similar scheme to our Australian counterparts and we expect to match their success,” he said.

A recent report by the AICD revealed that in Australia so far this year, women accounted for nearly 30 per cent of all new board appointments in ASX 200 companies, a 600 per cent increase on 2009 when women accounted for 7.5 per cent of appointments.

Mr Shale reports keen interest in the scheme already from at least ten chairmen, and expects to recruit more mentors this month at the IoD’s Company Chairmen’s Workshop, an annual forum that draws together some of the country’s most influential business leaders.

Available to IoD members only, the programme is designed to find and foster “board-ready” women. This includes women who already have experience on the boards of listed companies, unlisted public companies, large private companies, SOEs and other government organisations and not-for-profits.

Mentors will have been recruited for the scheme by mid-September and applications from prospective women mentees will be invited in early October. The mentoring programme is expected to launch in December.

Mr Shale said the programme highlights the commitment of the IoD to increase diversity on boards.

Other initiatives include the Aspiring Director Awards which offer assistance and training for talented potential directors. Many new and aspiring directors find IoD training programmes such as Governance Essentials and the Governance Development Programme an effective way to develop the expertise and knowledge required for a board role. The formal board recruitment process offered by Board Services also widens the recruitment net, and many aspiring directors find their first position on the many not-for-profit vacancies advertised on the website.

The IoD has also been a strong supporter of initiatives to promote diversity led by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Equal Employment Opportunity Trust, Global Women and the Human Rights Commission.


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